Germany

Berlin Wall: How It Felt Watching It Fall In 1989

Former British Sector official Barry Davies has returned to the spot where he witnessed the historic moment in November 1989.

A man who came to know the Berlin Wall better than most has returned to the very spot he watched its fall 30 years ago.

Barry Davies was Public Safety Officer for the British Allied Sector and has spoken about his experience of the historic event.

He was on duty the night the concrete barrier opened.

"The whole thing was peaceful," he said.

"It was a party atmosphere.

"The military were absolutely amazing. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers had deployed from Kladow and they were here and basically handing out soup, handing out tea to all the East Berliners coming in.

"It was bitterly cold, nobody cared."

East German leader Hans Modrow (second from left) and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (glasses, second from right) at the opening of the Brandenburg Gate (Picture: Barry Davies).

It was not the first historic occasion Mr Davies witnessed in Berlin.

He served as a corporal in the Royal Military Police at Spandau prison in the 1960s, where he saw the release of men who had been at the centre of the Nazi regime.

"Albert Speer, Hitler's armaments minister, and Baldur von Schirach Gauleiter of Vienna and Head of the Hitler Youth were released from Spandau prison. I was lucky enough to be on duty that night."

He also dealt with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess during his time commanding Berlin's Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch.

Mr Davies' three assignments in Berlin were dominated by the Cold War.

Had tensions boiled over, British forces there would have been greatly outnumbered by the Soviets.

Barry Davies never forgot the experience of walking through the newly-opened Brandenburg gate with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on the 22 December 1989.

Barry Davies watches preparations for a stage show to commemorate the 30th anniversary.

"I must say that to Berliners, the opening of the Brandenburg Gate was almost as important as the night of the 9 or 10 November."

Thirty years on, he says the German capital has been transformed.

"This is some ways no longer the city I knew and loved but it is naturally now an international draw."

A stage show will commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin's Wall this weekend.